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Manal’s Story – WOMENwhoFIGHT – Medium

Fighter, Lifetime Warrior, Boxer in the making

“CHALLENGES ARE WHAT MAKE ME WHO I AM TODAY.” — MANAL

When was the last time you tried something new? When was the last time you felt the power rush? That rush that shivers through your bloodstream like melted gold, pumping you with an unbeatable powerful feeling…

Trying something new can be challenging, there are plenty of reasons for it… first of all we never have time, messes up with routines, challenges old habits, we are busy, not a good timing… never ending reasons…

Meet Manal, who dared to try something new, something she always wanted to try… boxing! Manal loves her pink gloves, and her matching pink sneakers. She is one of the fiercest fighters we know, the woman that keeps challenging herself and who builds her own power. We spoke with her about her recent journey through boxing, and why you should consider giving boxing a try, too.

Picture provided by Manal

Trying boxing for the first time

Trying martial arts for the first time especially as a woman can be quite daunting. Many of us realise we are fighters at heart, but have never really tried to “play fighting” as a sport. We all have our reasons not to, but here’s how to: there is nothing like just trying boxing for the first time. Here’s how Manal started:

I’m into boxing and I started in September 2017. I’ve always wanted to learn how to box ever since I was little but I never found something that was suitable for me. My friend told me about a newly opened lovely gym Lift (@Liftbhbc) and I fell in love with the place to do my fitness workouts as well as learning the skill. Now I’m addicted!

For many women that get into martial arts, practicing it becomes more that just a few hours at the gym. Not only will your fitness level improve, but you may change your overall perspective. Here’s how practicing martial arts impacted Manal’s life…

It’s a big part of my life and I always relate everything to Martial Arts. My fitness level is about transferring it to the ring. My strength is about how I can target my punches and improve my mobility. My mental strength is also about overcoming setbacks and not stopping. You can slow down but you can’t stop.

Fighting it is not about brute force

Despite the fact that Manal only started boxing recently, like many of us she also had some challenging moments in her life. We asked her if she considers herself to be a fighter.

I’m definitely a warrior within my life. I’ve had different experiences that have enriched me and made me grow with the will to win “wars” regardless of the situation, timing or the topic. As humans, we all face different situations but it’s your “fighter” attitude that determines how you react. I call myself a warrior because it’s not only about fighting, but it’s about how you strategise in order to win the war. You may lose some battles but that could be a sacrifice to win the war. That’s life.

Fighting is super physical, when you train you’ll be developing muscle memory to perform what your brain commands. As it’s not about brute force but very strategic, and definitely a feeling…

I certainly feel that I’m empowering myself mentally and physically. There’s a sense of achievement as well as alignment when I train or fight. Many don’t realise how much thinking goes into training to fight and it’s not about mindlessly pounding your opponent.

Failing forward

Training is a process, it’s a constant learning journey. With it comes trial and error. We asked how she overcomes a harder learning curve or demotivating drawbacks.

Take it as a lesson. You have to learn and move on. You won’t get better if you don’t make mistakes or challenge yourself. If a combo or a particular technique was hard to master, I often slow down and break it into smaller chunks. I perfectly practice the chunks and then string it all together. Plus with regular practice your mind and muscles digest the movement, retain it and recollect it when it’s necessary.

Picture provided by Manal

Love at first punch

Despite the fact that more women are training martial arts it is still foreign for some why women would want to train it, specially as a fitness exercise.

Several people asked me why boxing and why didn’t I pick up something trendy like CrossFit or yoga. I just politely respond that it’s fun. Not everyone is entitled to know the full reason on why I love boxing.

Most of us feel hesitant to try new things, and most likely we’ll miss out on wonderful things. As Manal tried boxing recently for her first time, she fell in love with it. If you haven’t tried it yourself, why should you? Why does Manal think more women should?

More women should try boxing at least once to see how they feel after they’ve punched the bag or have done some mitt work. Girls and women of all ages that I’ve interacted with when they first started boxing felt the rush of energy as well as power which they haven’t experienced in any other sport.

Picture provided by Manal

Box outside of the ring

For those who fight and practice regularly know that its impact transcends the ring.

Physically I’ve gained a powerful skill through consistent and disciplined practice, which is a method that I’ve applied in my studies, career, etc. However now that both my mind and body are more in tandem, I deal with various challenges more confidently.

It’s striking that Manal speaks, acts like a fighter. But no one is born with martial arts skills, it needs to be trained. More than a set of movement skills, you can definitely train the fighter in you and become fiercer outside the ring.

Picture provided by Manal

It will be awkward in the beginning, but willing to leave your comfort zone is a first round win. Having discipline to keep practicing, learning how to fail in order to improve, will bring you more self confidence that you can channel to fight other challenges you might be facing in your life.

Practicing boxing as an exercise will impact your life in many levels. Not because fist fighting literally solves things in life. Instead, practicing martial arts teaches you how to build your own mental power. Especially from learning from mistakes. In Martial Arts, if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you will literally will be hit with your mistakes until you learn from them. This strength you acquire from learning and challenging yourself makes you more confident in your ability of having what it takes to stand up, learn and do better.

Manal is one of our first followers. Her journey keeps inspiring us to keep moving forward, improving and challenging ourselves. It has been a pleasure to follow her journey in martial arts. We are pretty sure yours will be exciting, too!

So bae, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Shoutout **(Big Big) Thank You! To Clare for bulletproof reading this story


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